Tokes Ojo-Ade blogs as “Tokes Take on Style,” and is a former tomboy turned corporate marketing professional by day, fashion blogger and style consultant by night! A wanna-be DJ and lover of basketball, her most important jobs=wife to hubby and mom of two hilarious little girls who make sure there’s never a dull moment. Read our interview with her below.
Tell me about yourself and what motivated you to start blogging?
I’m a financial services marketing professional by day with a love for fashion. We don’t have control over anything in life but we do have control over how we look and the first impression we give when we step out everyday. Getting compliments at work and randomly at church or stores or even at my kids’ schools was normal. Friends and colleagues constantly asked for styling and shopping tips so I figured I needed to do something with my gift. There are a lot of women who don’t feel confident enough to try certain outfits or who think looking stylish should be saved for the weekend and not for work. My job as a style blogger is to do some myth busting through style inspiration and sharing easy tips that everyday women can grasp. A friend who blogs about books ultimately convinced me to start my blog so I just did it!
What do you find most challenging about blogging about your topic?
The style/fashion market is saturated so it can be a challenge to ensure your content stands out in a crowded space.
Describe your experiences with some of the people you’ve met while blogging?
It’s been great. There are women who may be younger than I am age-wise but who are reverse mentors. They are more seasoned than I am and have provided tips, feedback and suggestions that have been invaluable. It’s encouraging to see women supporting women.
What networking do you do that helps your blogging business?
I joined some Facebook Groups and attended a blogger’s conference. My weekend schedule has been crazy but I plan on doing more local networking so I can meet bloggers I know “digitally,” in the DC-Maryland-Virginia area, in real life.
How do you come up with material/content for your blog and keep ideas fresh?
Because it’s style, I pretty much leverage outfits that I’ve worn to work, I also check out style sites, and magazines. If there are seasonal trends, I always like incorporating those in “normal” or relatable ways for everyday, working women like myself.
What’s your strategy with your blog in general?
I’m a working wife and mom of two girls so my goal is to inspire working women through style and fashion. When we look confident, we feel confident. Style transcends age, income, the list goes on. So I hope to encourage women who may think effortless style is unattainable or that you need a huge paycheck to be stylish.
You don’t have to break the bank to be stylish and you can still look great when dressing for the office. I love designers as much as the next girl but I can’t afford a designer-only wardrobe So it’s all about balance, mixing and matching so even a piece from a retailer like Target looks luxe because of how you styled it.
My strategy is all about writing content that’s instructional/easy to grasp, leveraging social media to reach my audience while securing sponsored posts along the way and monetizing.
What’s the best thing a blogger can give to his readers?
What they (readers) want. I myself am still figuring this out and surveyed my email subscribers recently to better understand that. Nirvana is when you know what your readers want and you give them what they want: helpful content; content that connects you to them in personal ways; content that inspires; entertains, that teaches…Whatever they want.
What are some tips for people interesting in making money from blogging? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?
Be patient and be ready to work! I’m finding out from full time bloggers that it is not as easy as it appears. When we see famous bloggers like Chiara Ferragni or Jackie Aina, one is inspired to someday “get there.” There’s a lot that goes into making money from blogging. Growing a following is important. The easiest way some bloggers make money is from site advertising. However, even for that, you need site traffic so if you build it, they will not come unless you attract them and give them a reason to visit. For me, I’m taking steps to monetize through advertising and affiliate links. I definitely want to monetize in other ways but I’m also enjoying getting freebies for reviews.
What has been your strategy for creating visibility to yourself and your blog?
Posting on social media, doing roundups featuring other bloggers, running social media ads on Facebook and Instagram, contributing to bigger sites (I wrote an article for The Huffington Post last year), tagging brands on Instagram in order to garner a brand feature on their handle.
What was the most challenging moment in your blog content development process and why?
I publish through wordpress.org and I use the Yoast SEO plugin to help ensure my content is SEO-optimized. Getting that Yoast SEO indicator to turn “green” can be a challenge when developing content.
If someone was interested in blogging, what would be a few things you would suggest?
Patience is a virtue. Blogging isn’t like it was before where the “OG” bloggers could focus on their niche. We live in the pay-to-be-seen age of Facebook so if you’re trying to drive interest via Facebook, only about 1-2% of followers see a brand’s posts. This forces brands and bloggers alike to boost their posts for visibility. So with that said, you will have to invest some of your own dollars for social advertising. When I started my blog, my husband was my photographer. He’s an IT guy who doesn’t have photography skills so it wasn’t great trying to coach and reshoot lol. You can imagine the dynamic of hubby trying his best, yet not satisfying the demanding blogger.
As a result, I opted to invest in a professional photographer. It was a win-win for all! But that means I’m paying a photographer for shoots. I know other bloggers who coordinate with other bloggers so they take turns and one blogger takes photos. That way, they’re avoiding the photography fee. Others have spouses who take decent photos so they save. I envy bloggers who rely on spouses as that definitely helps save money and potentially time.
I’d say be patient and be sure you are passionate about whatever you decide to blog about. It takes time to plan your content calendar, blog posts, then the social media posts, keeping up with groups, reading to get tips/learn etc. especially when you have a separate full time job and a family. But that shouldn’t stop you, if you are passionate. It just means you go all in and just do it!
Thanks Toke for stopping by this week and offering inspiring tips on fashion, style and pursuing our dreams. For more on Toke, check out her site and social media handles.